Charismatic Christianity as a Global Culture

Article excerpt

Edited by Karla Poewe. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1994. Pp. xiv, 300. $34.95.

The worldwide growth of Pentecostal/ charismatic Christianity has long merited extensive research and analysis. Yet information has usually come only from Euramerican mission agencies through publications that report on successes and assure home constituencies that related overseas churches conform to their doctrinal and ecclesiastical standards. Unfortunately, this limitation has the effect of presenting charismatic Christianity as a monolithic movement. Karla Poewe, professor of anthropology at the University of Calgary, and the other contributors challenge this portrayal.

Hardly uniform, Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity transcends ethnic, racial, and class boundaries to constitute a "global culture," produced by its "experiential, idealistic, biblical, and oppositional" dimensions (p. xii). Although it lacks a single integrating system of theology and liturgy, prominent features include a believer's personal relationship with God, love of one's neighbor, and holistic religious experience. To study the magnitude of this culture, Poewe gathered experts in sociology, anthropology, history, and religious studies to share their insights; among them were such wellknown scholars as Walter Hollenweger, David Martin, and Russell P. …

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